The Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown on Saturday as Republicans foiled a Democratic attempt to rebuke President Bush over his deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops.

The vote was 56-34. That was four short of the 60 needed to advance the measure, which is identical to a nonbinding resolution that Democrats pushed through the House on Friday.

“The Senate, on behalf of the American people, must make it clear to the commander in chief that he no longer has a rubber stamp in Iraq,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the final moments before the vote.

Republicans blasted him and the Democratic leadership for refusing to allow a vote on an alternative that ruled out any reduction in money for troops in the field.

“A vote in support of the troops that is silent on the question of funds is an attempt to have it both ways,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP leader. “So we are asking for an honest and open debate.”

The vote marked the second time this winter that Senate Republicans have blocked action on nonbinding measures critical of the president’s war policies. This time, however, there were signs of restlessness within the GOP.

Seven Republicans broke with their leadership, compared with only two on the previous test vote.

Also this time, the maneuvering concerned a nonbinding measure that disapproved of Bush’s decision to deploy the additional troops and pledged to support and protect the troops.

The vote in the House on Friday was 246-182, with 17 Republicans breaking ranks to support the measure and two Democrats voting in opposition.

Saturday’s debate and vote occurred in an intensely political environment, both in and out of the Capitol. The unusual weekend session sent presidential contenders in both parties scrambling to make the vote.

One of them, Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, squeezed in a morning appearance in New Hampshire, where she told one audience, “We have to end this war and we can’t do it without Republican votes.”

Polls show strong public opposition to the war, which as killed more than 3,100 U.S. troops. Democrats seemed eager to force Republicans into votes that might prove politically troublesome.

“They are torn between their president’s policy and the wishes of the constituents, but vote they must,” said Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee.

Democrats in both the House and Senate have said the nonbinding measures would be only the first attempt to force a shift in Bush’s war policies.

In the Senate, Reid has told lawmakers he will turn anti-terrorism legislation into a forum for debate over the war. He has met privately in recent days with fellow Democrats as the leadership plans its next move.

In the House, Democrats have said they will attempt to place restrictions on Bush’s request for an additional $93 billion for the military in an attempt to make it impossible for him to deploy all 21,500 additional troops.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., has described a series of provisions that would require the Pentagon to meet certain standards for training and equipping the troops, and for making sure they have enough time at home between deployments.

Murtha and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., describe these provisions as designed to protect the troops.

Republicans argue the effect would be to deny troops needed reinforcements and are expected to try to block the restrictions.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press


  1. .

    Ray, that is all it CAN be. Anyone with an ounce of brains realizes that invading Iraq was monstrously WRONG from day one. No sane individual would wish these horrors upon any other country. They are either a mostly evil sociopathic bunch (not outside the realm of possibility) or they are being blackmailed by someone — the neocons, AIPAC, Israel, CIA, someone is blackmailing these people.


  2. I would say that all those who support Bushco are being blackmailed. It is an old trick of the neocon perverts to gain absolute control over the house and senate. Wine and dine then afterwards photos of thier guests caught with whores or young boys in lewd activities will get the support every time. I would bet that the higher percentage of Bush supporters are in fear of exposure. The Hill has been the center of scandles many times over the years. What is to make anyone think that they have changed any of the sick behavior that seems to the way of life in our nations capitol. IMHO

  3. .

    JimZ wrote: “But then we don’t want the Democrats to be completely in control. Who the heck trusts them?”


    Can you imagine Hillary Clinton wielding the power that Bush has usurped for the presidency? SCARY. DAMN SCARY.


  4. Kent, that is pretty dang scary. So either Bu$h appoints himself president for life, or the GOP will try to limit the Executive Branch power before the next election? Or worse…

  5. There’s no face like of the neocon Christo-fascist movement like Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP minority leader (OK- Tom DeLay too). That guy makes me want to puke every time I see him. HE SHILLS FOR BU$H 100% OF THE TIME!


  6. Any Senator who would voted against supporting this measure to rebuke the President (Dictator) though publicly acknowleding they disagree with his policy, should never be trusted.

    My mind cannot accept any reason for acting in such a manner. Though I never have blamed any of the Congressmen who voted to supported the President (Dictator)for going into this war (because they were lied to) I do hold all who voted against this nonbinding responsible for it continuing to be allowed without rebuke.

    There is no political party more important than the people its supposed to represent yet this is a perfect example of how the peoples wishes have once again been ignored in lieu of party politics!

  7. In response to Peter Chewning — Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) is the person who is still in the hospital. McCain blew off the vote in favor of going on the campaign trail. I haven’t heard any explanations for the absences of the others — but I think the rest were republic senators.

  8. Above the south point says “I doesn’t matter anymore. Absolute stupidity has reached its terminal state.” I TOTALLY AGREE. Fokes, we are now on life support. Who wants to pull the plugg?

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